Imagine Hello Kitty as a foulmouthed, cigarette-smoking, tattoo-sporting hellion, and you've got a pretty good idea of what to expect from Tamala 2010: A Punk Cat in Space, a thin slice of animated pop showing this weekend at the Cinematheque.
The convoluted story has something to do with Tamala -- a supercute kitty who says fuck a lot and occasionally delivers mean kicks to the faces of passersby -- and her quest across the cosmos in search of her mother. Along the way, Tamala hooks up with a debt-ridden cat from another planet, has a run-in with a sexually predatory German shepherd, and goes bowling. Simmering beneath it all is a plate of political plotting involving a deteriorating zombie cat, a pair of gay dogs, a caged mouse, and a mysterious letter-delivering feline. But holding it all together is the sleek animation -- part old-school anime, part state-of-the-art CGI -- by t.o.L, a crew of Japanese writers, directors, animators, and musicians. You may not figure out what it is they're up to, but you'll be wowed nonetheless. Tamala 2010 plays at 9 p.m. Thursday, 5:30 p.m. Saturday, and 9 p.m. Sunday at the Cleveland Cinematheque, 11141 East Boulevard. Admission is $5 and $8; call 216-421-7450. -- Michael Gallucci
Meet the guy who swam a mighty polluted river.
It's fitting that the first human being to swim the entire length of the Columbia River -- all 1,200 miles of it -- is visiting a city whose own river once caught fire. "I swam through everything from arsenic to zinc, everything from human waste to nuclear waste," says Christopher Swain, who talks about his exploits Friday in "You'll Die Up North: Swimming the Columbia River. " "The best way for me to help the river was to taste every mile, to meet as many of my neighbors as I could along the way." Before he completed his unprecedented feat, via some 795,750 freestyle strokes, Swain suffered numerous ear infections, nasty colds, shoulder inflammation, and more. "It's not just about the Columbia," he cautions. "It's about every waterway -- the Cuyahoga, the Hudson. All of them have come to reflect the choices we have made as people." Swain is at Happy Days Visitor Center (500 West Streetsboro in Peninsula) at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $3 and $6; call 330-650-4636. -- Lucy McKernan
Jukebox spins for the Greatest Generation.
In the Strongsville Community Theatre's World War II revue G.I. Jukebox, WTAM sports-talker Kim Mihalik steps out of Mike Trivisonno's bloated shadow for a stroll down memory lane. There's a "Who's on First?"-like comedy skit, period dress, and 26 songs -- including such Grandma and Grandpa faves as "Sentimental Journey," "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree," and "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy." "The show was chosen because there's a lot of patriotism right now," says Sue Glenn, the theater's president. G.I. Jukebox is at Strongsville High School's Little Theatre (20025 Lunn Road in Strongsville) Friday through February 14. Show times are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday (plus a 2 p.m. performance this Sunday). Tickets are $10 to $12; call 440-954-4634. -- Cris Glaser
Songs to Get Elected To
Floyd Adams ratchets up the Presidents' Day anticipation with a presentation titled "Music That Did or Did Not Get the Presidents Elected" this Sunday. He talks about old-time campaign tunes, as well as contemporary players like Fleetwood Mac (pictured), whose "Don't Stop" helped usher Bill Clinton into the White House. It starts at 2 p.m. at the Lakewood Public Library Main Auditorium, 15425 Detroit Avenue in Lakewood. Admission is free; call 216-226-8275. -- Michael Gallucci